Don’t Write About Me

photos by eryc perez de tagle

Him: Hey. I know you.

Me: Hey. Do you?

Him: Yeah I think so.

Me: From where?

Him: You’re the guy online.

Me: Oh shit. Yeah. I guess I am. Hi.

Him: Hi.

Me: What’s your name?

Him: Kelley. 

Me: Oh wow. I really like that name for a guy.

Him: Thanks. You’re…?

Me: Michael. It’s nice to meet you.

Him: You too. (pause) Oh my God. Do you have pie?

Me: What?

Him: Did you bring pie?

Me: To a Brooklyn gay bar?  No.  I didn’t.

Him: Well. You’re supposed to be the one who has all the pie, aren’t you, mister?

Me: I suppose I am.

Him: Well see?  You should have brought some.

Me: I’m hoarding it.

Him: You are?

Me: Yeah. I’m hoarding all the pie and nobody can have any except people I like.

Him: Aw!  That’s not fair.

Me: Also I tried bringing pie here before but it made my coat pockets sticky.

Him: Really?

Me: No. But you’re cute.

Him: Really?  So are you.

Me: Thanks. So are you hungry? Wanna get some cheap Mexican food?

Him: Right now?

Me: Yeah, or later. It’s always there, on Grand and Graham.

Him: You know what?  I better say no.  No offense.

Me: I’m… What? I’m not offended.

Him: Yeah but I better say no.

Me: Why?

Him: I’m just more of a prude than you are.

Me: So?

Him: So I’d better not accept a date invitation from you.

Me: ‘Cause you’re a prude?

Him: Yeah. I’m a super prude. I’d never have a website where I do what you do.  Post revealing photographs like that.

Me: They’re not that revealing, are they?

Him: Don’t you think they’re slightly dirty?

Me: Not really. I feel like I’ve seen worse in fashion magazines.

Him: Maybe. But there’s this context. It’s jarring.

Me: That’s on purpose.

Him: Well, mission accomplished.

Me: So, okay. So, don’t start a website where you post photos and stories like I do. What’s that got to do with having some cheap Mexican food with me?

Him: I just think I probably wouldn’t be the best person for you, is all…

Me: Well that’s why people go on dates. To find out if that’s true or not. And to have fun along the way.

Him: Thanks for asking. I’m going to decline.

Me: Okay. I respect that.

Him: Partially, too, I don’t want to get written about.

Me: Oh, I’m probably going to do that.

Him: No!  Why??

Me: Because it’s a slow news week, cutie.

Him: Stop.

Me: I don’t know why. ‘Cause that’s what I do. I probably would write about you either way, but now that you’ve implied I’m too slutty to qualify for a date, I’m definitely going to.

Him: Oh jeez.  That’s not what I meant.

Me: I know. But I have to capitalize on what’s going on in front of me – as a writer.

Him: I’m not an extrovert. I don’t want to be part of your thing. I like it, but I don’t want to be part of it. Why isn’t that okay?

Me: That’s fine. But I might write about it.

Him: Why?

Me: Because I write about conversations I have.

Him: I know, but just don’t write about me.

Me: You’re trying to censor my writing, and you just met me, Kelley.

Him: That’s not true.

Me: What else would you call limiting what I can write about? I’m kidding. I don’t think you’re really trying to censor me. Except for the censorship part.

Him: Okay, fine. Please don’t write about me?

Me: Sure. On one condition.

Him: What?

Me: Come have cheap Mexican food with me. Sit with me and chat for half an hour and I promise I won’t write about you, ever. You don’t have to ever talk to me again.

Him: No. I already said no.

Me: Okay. There it is then.

Him: But, don’t write about me.

Me: Eh. We’ll see…

9 thoughts on “Don’t Write About Me

  1. I never go for tacos, one at the very most, by two I’m under the table, by three I’m on a blog post.

  2. I’m not sure if you only publish comments that reinforce your actions, but I’d like to politely express that I feel this transcript is nothing more than a vindictive response to being shot down by someone who was (however unreasonably) a little too prudish. He expressed numerous times his desire that your interaction remain private. He was not censoring you, he asked reasonably, one decent human being to another, that you respect his privacy. In response, not only did you post the entirety of the conversation, you even published his name. If I were you, I would be ashamed at how petty this post appears.

    1. I publish all sorts of comments. Even those who disagree with me.

      I changed his name, kiddo. It’s not really Kelley, it’s some other unisexual name like Adrian or Leslie.

      He approached me, remember? Not the opposite. He approached me because he recognized me from my blog where, presumably, he knows that I write about people I meet out and about in New York City.
      If you recognize a guy who writes about interactions with strangers, and you don’t want to be written about, then don’t say hello.

      As far as I’m aware, censorship is the attempt to stifle, quash, or limit what a person can say or write. In this case, saying ‘don’t write about this’ is absolutely an attempt to censor my writing, however feeble. Otherwise I’m not sure how to define the word censorship.

      Don’t try to invoke shame on me. I’m just expressing myself. If you don’t like it, read another blog. But I reject your shame.

      Go scold someone else.

  3. To your first point, I do respect that. To your second, I respect this also, for what it’s worth (though as cute as I am, the label kiddo grates on me).

    To your third, I think there is inherent fault in holding others responsible for your own actions (however consistent the pattern).

    As to your definition of censorship, you’ve dismissed the spirit of the word in favor of its semantic worth. A polite request made in person does not constitute censorship any more than your offer to oblige on the condition of cheap Mexican food constitutes blackmail. Furthermore, if we must reduce the word to such an asinine state, censorship by definition must be coerced or forced, else it constitutes self-censorship (albeit at the request of another, but more importantly not Kelly’s responsibility).

    As to your presumptions of my motives, invoking shame was not one of them. My post constitutes an expression of my own ideals much as you would express yours (blogs are, after all, an interactive media). I hoped, simply, to invoke self-reflection. When two people attempt to reconcile their viewpoints, they can both grow, even though disagreement. To reduce what I took the time to express to a simple scolding is nothing more than a cop-out.

    Perhaps though, a comment thread is not the best place to spark such an involved debate.

  4. “If I were you, I would be ashamed at how petty this post appears.”

    Here’s where I thought you were trying to invoke shame. My bad.

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